The Internet Doesn’t Make Us Stupid
Contrary to what many believe, the expansion of the web doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting the way we consume the news.
This is the conclusion we can draw from the latest study conducted by the Pew Research Center. The latter reveals very interesting data on the general public’s access to information in the U.S.:
- very few people (17%) don’t have any access to information on a typical day. I’m willing to bet that this percentage will continue to decline in coming years;
- one explanation for this trend is that it is always easier to get the news, especially due to the proliferation of communications platforms. Today, 46% of Americans already use 4 to 6 different platforms (newspaper, computer, radio, television, smartphone…) to get the news everyday. Only 7% use only one platform;
- 20 to 40% of Americans participate in the news media (online comments…). And the more participatory the consumption of news will be, the more it will grow;
- 57% of Americans get the news continuously throughout the day while 38% follow the news at fixed moments of the day (morning radio sessions, TV evening news…). This proportion has almost reversed over the last six years. This illustrates another advantage of news in a digital era: It can be consumed at any time.
Obviously, the impact of the Internet on the way we get the news is not 100% positive, particularly in terms of information reliability. However, it is undeniable that the access to the news is made easier than ever in history by the development of digital technologies.
I consider this an improvement because the wide distribution of basic news is always better than the restriction of high-quality information to a happy few.